Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon (Macmillan Science)
In The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon, Henry Nicholls details the efforts of conservationists to preserve the Galapagos' unique biodiversity and illustrates how their experiences and discoveries are echoed worldwide. He explores the controversies raging over which, if any, mates are most genetically appropriate for George and the risks of releasing crossbreed offspring into the wild. His is a story that draws together the islands' geology, evolution and history of human exploitation. It features strong characters, from Charles Darwin to cloning pioneer Ian Wilmut to the beautiful Swiss graduate who spent four months trying to persuade George to have sex. Nicholls' book is about discovery, wildlife, scientific conflict and the environment but will also appeal to the travel market. Some 80,000 tourists visit the Galápagos Islands each year; all drop in on George.
'This is a wonderful tale of an almost mythical beast. Rich in historical detail George's story is one of pathos, despair and hope with some quirky reproductive biology thrown in for good measure. Henry Nicholls has done us all a service, reminding us of the fragility of life in general and of one very special chelonian in particular. Essential reading.' - Tim Birkhead FRS, author of Promiscuity and The Red Canary'When tortoises were common on the Galapagos island of Pinta, sailors ate them. When they became rare, collectors pickled and stuffed the last few 'for science'. Now it seems that only one is left - the huge and lugubrious Lonesome George - there is talk of applying the most heroic high tech, cloning and the rest, to keep his lineage going. It is a cracking tale - and crackingly well told. It is also salutary. Giant tortoises are indeed extraordinary - but not as strange as human beings.' Colin Tudge, author of The Secret Life of Trees'If Darwin were alive today he would be fascinated by Henry Nicholls' splendid account of this solitary survivor from Pinta Island. A must for anyone who cares about extinction or has a soft spot for the remarkable history of a very singular animal.' - Janet Browne, author of Charles Darwin: A Biography'Not simply the story of a tortoise but the tale of that icon of evolution, the Galápagos archipelago, and of the heroics and (sometimes) seeming futility of the conservation movement. The science is compelling, the tone is light...highly recommended.' - Olivia Judson, author of Dr Titania's Sex Advice to all Creation, writing in Seed Magazine'Is he gay, impotent or just bored? Read this fascinating book for the full story. It skilfully blends historical derring-do with cutting-edge conservation biology.' - NewScientist'A warmly enjoyable book - a pleasure to read.' - www.popularscience.co.uk'Nicholls' lively tale takes the reader on a journey through the Galapagos - and how much there is to loose.' - BBC Focus Magazine'This marvellous look at the conservation of nature, as embodied in one enormous reptile, is highly recommended.' - Booklist'Like the best human-focused biographers, Nicholls uses his unusual subject as a springboard into more universal territory. He aptly portrays Lonesome George as a sort of reptilian Forrest Gump, an unwitting bystander continually thrust to the forefront as society's defining crises play themselves out around him.' - Wired'Told with real affection and humour - a fitting tribute to one of the voiceless victims of human progress.' - The Guardian 'Lonesome George will do for the cause of science and preservation in the Galápagos what Jonathan Weiner's The Beak of the Finch did a decade before - entertain, enlighten and encourage us all to do our part to preserve not just these islands, but Earth itself.' - Michael Shermer author of In Darwin's Shadow, in THES'The literary device of placing a reptilian icon at the centre of a dynamic play about science, conservation and our attitudes to nature results in a highly readable book that has much to say about the ways we flounder around in our attempts to protect things that seem important to us.' - Nature 'Nicholls is a brilliant storyteller and narrative stylist in the finest tradition - an emotional but fact-filled call for action.' - The Skeptic'well-written and fascinating book...the author draws on a wealth of scientific, historical and anecdotal information that has been woven together to give a complete picture of the travails of this Tortoise...Henry Nicholls's passion for his subject and sense of humour are always evident, as is his knowledge of the natural world and the issues associated with animal conservation.' - Paul Chambers, The Times Literary Supplement'Conciencious, comprehensive and balanced. Everyone with an interest in conservation should read this account and consider its implications.' - Trends in Evolution and Ecology 'Well written and fascinating - Nicholls' passion for his subject and sense of humour are always evident.' - Times Literary Supplement 'Manages to package human drama, reproductive biology and a conservation message with humour and exemplary clarity.' - Folha de S.Paulo'Highly readable. I encourage you to read this succinct book and pass it on to your colleagues, even children.' - Professor Jeffrey Powell, Yale, writing in EMBO Reports 'Nicholls' effort is both timely and redoubtable, and demands critical attention now.' - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
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Climate Change 2014 - Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Part B: Regional Aspects: Volume 2, Regional Aspects: Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report